By Ho Lian-Yi
BY WHAT metric can a city's greatness be measured?
The splendour of its buildings, the rigour of its people, or the wisdom of its laws?
Or, is it, in Singapore?s case, the tastiness of its food and the frequency of its campaigns?
According to CNNGo, a new lifestyle, insider's city guide website launched by US news network CNN in six cities on 28 Sep, these are two of the 50 reasons why Singapore can be the greatest city in the world.
Other than Singapore, the other cities were Bangkok, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Tokyo. Mr Andrew Demaria, 34, CNNGo's Hong Kong-based editor-in-chief, told The New Paper on Sunday: "We wanted to create something fun, maybe a bit controversial, and let each city put a case forward as to why this city is the greatest on the planet."
It's a good thing that the man behind it, CNNGo's Singapore city editor Mr Larry Loh, 36, has no doubt that Singapore is definitely number one.
The Singaporean compiled the list with help from five others, writers and freelancers with CNNGo - all
of whom are Singaporeans.
The list ranges from the expected to the quirky.
But wait, something's missing from the list. No kiasuism?
"Yes, we're renowned for that, but it's not something unique to Singapore," Mr Loh explained.
"Other countries are just as competitive. We just came up with an obvious label for the behaviour."
Here's CNNGo's list:
1 Food capital of the world.
We have no time for the Kamasutra, but everyone pores over Makansutra.
2 Garden city.
Overseas visitors are often most impressed by the rows of trees that line roads everywhere - from expressways to suburban streets.
3 Greatest living politician, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
Mr Loh submitted this one himself. "I haven't had anyone disagree with me on that."
4 World-class health care.
Our hospitals play host to royals and politicians from all over the world.
5 Formula One.
Not even 'Crashgate' has dimmed the shine of the world's first and only night race.
From your toilet to your tap. Our greatest resources is of the human kind, well, sort of.
7 Chilli crab.
It might be love, it might be heartburn. But there's no doubt chilli crab is close to many Singaporeans' bosoms, as evidenced by our uproar when Malaysia's Tourism Ministry tried to pass -the most awesome crustacean dish of all time- as their own.
Mr Valentino Lacson, 24, civil servant, said: "Well, we do have our sexy way of inventing our own languages and words. Like boomz."
Mobile subscription rate exceeds the population count.
10 'Campaign-craziest place on earth'.
Be Courteous, Speak Mandarin, Save Water, Stop Littering, Be Kind. You name it, we probably have a campaign for it.
11 No natural disasters.
As typhoons and earthquakes battered our neighbours in recent weeks, we were thankful our tiny island is sheltered
from nature's wrath.
12 A nation of young hunchbacks.
Blame the bags overflowing with books which the poor kids have to tote.
13 New Asia Bar at Swissotel The Stamford.
Best place to see Singapore's sights.
14 Low crime.
Mr F Y Lim, 29, a salesman, said: "I should point out that a healthy dose of common sense and good old Asian values, whereby one doesn't go where one doesn't know, probably helps."
15 Khoo Swee Chiow, possibly our finest daredevil.
16 Public housing.
Not like anywhere else -clean, not ridden with crime, though not very inexpensive either.
17 Increasing liberalisation, as evidenced in the arts.
18 Singapore's "built as if out of Lego blocks".
How else to squeeze so much on one tiny dot?
19 Shop all day in Orchard Road without ever seeing the sun.
20 Lion City?
Sang Nila Utama named us such when he saw what he thought was a lion.
But lions don't live here, so it's most likely a tiger he saw.
21 Raffles Hotel.
Best place to get a Singapore Sling and drink in our colonial past.
22 "Most educated and honest taxi drivers".
Our much maligned cabbies get a break - even if the 'educated' bit is based solely on the fact that one of them has a PhD.
23 Changi Airport.
What more needs to be said about it?
24 World's youngest iPhone developer.
10-year-old Lim Ding Wen wrote an iPhone application called Doodle Kids that allows you to paint on the iPhone using shapes like triangles, circles and squares composed of random colours and sizes.
25 Universal Studios Singapore's upcoming 24 movie-theme rides and attractions.
26 'Most morbidly named island'.
Sentosa was once known as Pulau Blakang Mati (Island of Death from Behind in Malay). Mr Loh said he included this as he wanted to show how Sentosa had gone from an island with such a name to one of the keypins of Singapore's tourism industry.
27 Museum of Shanghai Toys.
Home to tin toys made in China during the early 1900s.
28 Swing KPE!
For getting 10,000 people to play with lanterns in the KPE Tunnel in September last year, setting a new world record in the process.
29 Every man can shoot.
Thanks to NS. And also swear in Hokkien.
30 'Reserving' seats with tissue paper.
Could this be the most Singaporean thing of all? "All my contributors gave me that," said Mr Loh.
31 Our love for acronyms.
Why spell Ang Mo Kio when AMK suffices?
32 One dollar can still get you ice cream and kopi.
33 A nation of readers.
100,000s of books for loan, 22 libraries, dozens of bookstores.
34 Singapore Flyer. Biggest observation wheel in the world.
35 Gong Li and Jet Li. Hollywood stars, Singapore citizens.
36 The origins of tech legends.
Sim Wong Hoo started Sound Blaster here. It is rumoured that Apple's Ang Mo Kio plant was where the first Macintosh classic was assembled and built.
37 Bar 84.
Great magic show. If you can get past the bouncer.
38 People named after superheroes.
Gotham City has Batman. Metropolis has Superman. Singapore has Batman bin Suparman.
39 -opolis'es. Biopolis, Airtropolis, Fusionopolis, Entrepolis.
Werre not Greek but not for trying.
Looks like a durian. Luckily, doesn't smell like one.
41 Prehistoric drinks.
So what if the Milo Dinosaur probably already has a million calories? We made it bigger, the equivalent of a nuclear
disaster in your arteries: the Milo Godzilla.
42 Straits Records.
Experience alternative culture in the heart of town.
43 Fanciful ways of ordering drinks at coffee shops.
44 Haji Lane.
Rows of small boutiques with vintage dresses, classic bags, shoes and even cameras.
45 Toilets are serious business.
We even have an association dealing with it.
46 Old School, a cluster of buildings at Mount Sophia.
The hangout of choice for those with an artistic bent.
47 Our own Fight Club.
I mean mixed martial arts school - Evolve MMA.
48 St James Power Station.
Spread over a sprawling 70,000 sq ft place, there are nine separate clubs housed under one red-bricked roof.
49 "Everyone's apparently related".
Taxi Uncle, Ice Cream Uncle on Orchard Road, Toilet Auntie.
50 Little Red Dot.
The "cutest" name for a country.
For the full CNNGo version, visit www.cnngo.com.
This article was first published in The New Paper.